When one door closes, another opens. But often we look so long, so regretfully, upon the closed door, that we fail to see the one that is opened for us.
– Helen Keller
Don’t Be A Dork, Vote For Pork
With little preparation and discussion, I asked Mr. Phil “Porky” Porter to be part of the dispatch team at the 2017 Scott Tournament of Hearts. In the moment, I was actively looking for a skilled player to support the team.
The player needed key experience.
My guts were churning, I was stressed, and I imagine I looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
Doug Geddie a long time friend of Mr. Porter helped facilitated this monumental task. How Mr. Porter fell through the cracks is somewhat of a mystery, and ultimately, one of those stories that will remain untold.
The bottom line is that Phil is on board, the wheels on the bus are turning, and the team is moving forward.
The Corner Man
A striking image presents itself when I think of Phil.
In boxing, it’s the corner man that has to send his friend into the ring to get his brains beat in. I can say without a doubt that Phil is a friend that has taken a good beating on my behalf.
The mesmerizing part is that Porky loves a good fight and I just can’t stop looking. If it was me in there I would have been looking for the guy in the corner to throw in the towel.
Quitting is NOT an Option
The preparation for this battle has been months in the making, and I know deeply what it means to toy with the idea of quitting. Phil Porter refuses to go down.
He jumps directly into the fray and takes the shots.
Left, right, jab, and then a “nip” under the arm, just enough for a bit of influence.
Phil has a particular way of sizing people up. At the beginning of each day, he simply looks at me, with his glasses halfway down his nose and says, “Daniel, I’m gonna kill you.”
I think he’s joking.
Now that the planning is over and the action has begun, I can see how much I asked for from a retired Transit guy. It’s strange and exhilarating overseeing Transportation Services with a 30 odd year veteran as my director.
The rookie and the pro.
The War Room
In the war room and around the arena, I have watched Phil positively influence people. I’m a newbie at the game of power politics, but I feel privileged to learn the game from a master.
Reading people correctly is an art form.
It is a skill set that storytellers should take great pride in. Often it’s a matter of patience, listening to a character speak, and watching for key facial expressions.
All this wonderful sensory information gets distilled down into a magical story for the entertainment of a special guest.
Fate has smiled kindly upon me.
Years ago in the back of the compressor room, I found a dragonfly. I don’t know how it managed to get there, maybe it flew in from the golf course, but all I know is that it lay there dried and dead.
I notice the detail.
A prize insect like this needed to be displayed so I carefully took the time to pin it to the old cork board on the wall, like a natural philosopher of science.
When the gears started turning in the dispatch center of the Scotties we needed a cork board because you aren’t supposed to tape anything to the wall. I knew that there was an old corkboard in the back, however, wasn’t able to pick it up.
Since my dad was the only available body, I asked him to go search for the corkboard in the compressor room at the club. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the one I described, but that didn’t stop him.
He solved the problem and tore one off the wall.
When he delivered the “wrong” corkboard to the dispatch office I noticed it came dressed with the dragonfly I had pinned to the surface.
Everything else had been removed.
The dragonfly reminds Phil of his daughter. She was heralded by this majestic creature and it remains a powerful and tender memory for him.
I wrote a previous post on loss, and as a father, I can relate to a portion of the tragedy this man has had to endure.
A father should not lose a child.
How do you recover from such a loss? Most men would have put their head in a bucket of booze and never come up for air.
There is an art of repairing broken things, it’s called Kintsugi.
Phil wears his scars with gold trim.